Every time the South African news media use the phrase ‘White Monopoly Capital’ – which they do with monotonous regularity – they are achieving nothing more than falling into the delighted hands of a British public relations company.
Now, with local media help, Pro-Zuma denialists are using ‘White Monopoly Capital’ as a weapon against anyone who criticises the government, the Gupta family, the new cabinet or frankly, the junk status downgrade and the poor performance of their soccer teams.
The phrase was concocted by the PR company, who was contracted by Oakbay Investments when banks started walking away from them. Needless to say, the Gupta family are benefitting from the dubious wisdom of these crafty spin-doctors.
The real irony, of course, is that Bell Pottinger itself is a perfect example of white Monopoly capital, which would be funny were the implications not so serious.
It is time local mass media gave consideration to actions like the adoption of phrases such as ‘White Monopoly Capital’
It is time local mass media gave consideration to actions like the adoption of phrases such as ‘White Monopoly Capital’, which, when one thinks about it, will achieve nothing more than increased intolerance of an economic system that might well be flawed, unfair and unsustainable, but with which South Africa is stuck for the foreseeable future.
Whether or not White Monopoly Capital is actually the root cause of South Africa’s problems is moot, but one cannot simply kick the existing system into touch without creating havoc, unemployment and mass poverty.
The standard of journalism in South Africa is nothing for anyone to be proud of. Tough economic times and a massive increase in competition has led any number of media houses to skate on extremely thin ice when it comes to deciding whether or not to publish controversial content which could add readers, listeners and viewers to their medium, or consigning it to the waste bin, where a lot of it belongs.
It is no easy task. But, when it comes to perpetuating PR spin such as ‘White Monopoly Capital’ I think the media needs to be aware of the fact that while it might give some meaty grist to their mill, they are also just falling into a very carefully laid PR trap.
Follow Chris Moerdyk on Twitter @chrismoerdyk
Image: Mzwanele ‘Jimmy’ Manyi, a vocal proponent of the White Monopoly Capital spin campaign / ANN7 Twitter feed
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